Sourdough Starter, 200-year old


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Buy sourdough starter

Is it cheating to buy sourdough starter? Well, you could make your own, and I encourage everyone to try it at least once, but in the meantime you can always buy sourdough starter from me. And believe me, this starter may well be the oldest sourdough starter for sale!

The oldest sourdough starter?

Our Sourdough Starter comes from a village just outside of Rome and has been tended for over 200-years! It has amazing vigour, flavour and consistency. I keep it at the 2:1 flour:water ratio, which I find gives you the best oven spring with the mildest sourdough tang, perfect for those that have tried ‘hardcore’ sourdough made with a runny, acidic starter and not liked the flavour – I have converted a lot of people over to sourdough bread with this.

What is a sourdough starter?

There’s a lot of mystique around sourdough and sourdough starters in particular. Yeasts captured from the air, cultured by pineapple juice, passed from generation to generation, must be kept airtight, must be kept cold, must be in a glass jar and away from any other living products. I’ve heard it all and it’s all pretty much rubbish as far as I’m aware. It’s true that sourdough starter is a collection of hundreds of different types of yeast, bacteria and enzymes but most of these came from the husk of the wheat itself rather than the aura of your great-great-grandmother whose spirit still haunts the very mixing bowl that you use to make your bread today… although I’ll talk a little about that on my course. Not all sourdough starters are equal however. A proper, traditional starter should be resilient enough to be left alone for a while then refreshed and get straight back into the game, whereas cultures that you buy in little foil packets tend to be only a few types of yeast isolated from an original starter culture and selectively grown in labs. These ‘starter kits’ will become weaker with use and eventually die off as they don’t have the whole diverse system protecting and nurturing them. There’s also a fair amount of controversy with Industrial Sourdough, supermarket sourdough, or Sourfaux as it has been named. Sourdough bread in supermarkets is simply not sourdough, and we’ve been fighting to get them to stop for years. This is the starter that I baked our award-winning sourdough bread with every day.

What is the best sourdough recipe?

What is the best sourdough recipe? It’s the sourdough recipe you’ll actually use, as opposed to the one that uses you! If you need to keep getting up in the night to feed and change it, if you need all sorts of extra equipment and feel that you can’t actually go anywhere without taking it, or at least worrying about it when it’s not in sight, you don’t have a sourdough starter – you have a baby! I believe in KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Therefore I pare it down to it’s basics, then build from there. Your starter is your to train, make sure yuo train it to fit in with your life, not the other way around. The actual sourdough recipe? I’ll do better than that – I’ll show you how to convert your favourite bread recipe into a sourdough recipe.

How to convert a recipe for sourdough

You can use this on any bread recipe, but you’ll need to adjust the recipe to take into account your starter. For example:

My lean white recipe calls for:

  • 1000g flour
  • 650g water
  • 20g salt
  • 10g yeast

Converting this recipe to use my starter would look like this:

  • 150g starter
  • 900g flour
  • 600g water
  • 20g salt

So you see I’ve broken the starter down as so: 2:1 flour:water 100g flour : 50g water

1000g flour – 100g from the starter = 900g

650g water – 50g from the starter = 600g

The salt is unchanged and obviously I don’t add yeast like the supermarket bakeries do because they’re pulling a fast one and ruining sourdoughs reputation as a bread that’s easier to digest than your yeasted loaves.

Download your Printable Sourdough Instructions

Four more information on baking see my secret baking guide, or sign up to our weekly baking lessons here!


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